by Letty Watt at Literally Letty
During our time of Covid, I found time to rest, to heal, and to clear my head of cobwebs and focus on a thought, an activity, a moment.
I found in my quiet time on the golf course a reason to focus. To focus on one shot at a time; to focus on my breathing, my stride, my rhythm. The beauty of the trees filled with green leaves and the songbirds surrendered calm. Because of Covid I often played a few holes of golf, alone, and then came home. I was happy and relaxed.
Tai Chi has been a call and a need that I have enjoyed because it requires s l o w flowing movements.. (Slow is not part of my lifestyle. I walk hard and with purpose.) Tai Chi is often thought of as moving meditation. After a year, then two years, then well into my third year I knew the 24 moves, but could not, absolutely could not, memorize them. I always needed the teacher to call the next step. Slowly, I began to piece together my thoughts. Why do I walk and enjoy walking without talking, without music, without listening to a book. The search for silence, yes, but….what was missing?
In my childhood dance classes I never had that trouble, but then I could follow the steps by the beat of the music and found success. Tai chi doesn’t go by beats or music. It has its own flow.
One day, my teacher suggested that my eyes follow my hands in movement, to focus on the movement. In other words, she was saying to me, don’t think of what you need to do after class. Don’t write a story. Don’t create a grocery list while practicing Tai Chi.
Inhale as you raise your hands, exhale as you drop them.
Move the body as a unit.
Let the hands follow the movement of the waist (core, sacrum).
With the thirty minutes left in class that day, I focused totally on my hands, and felt the movements of stepping by leading with the core. I had found focus but no words to describe it.
Sleep is a solvent for most of my woes. In sleep, in rest, and in good health the answers flow like spring water bubbling up from the ground. In my writings this spring, In Search of Light, and Listening in Silence, I found some answers.
The next day on the golf course, there was noise everywhere around me, a distracting noise but fun because some people prefer music, others like to talk, and others like to talk on their phones. My head was spinning and I wanted to leave. In a moment of grace I heard my own voice say,
“This is where I am. This is what I do. This is what I enjoy.”
Walking to the first tee, with all of the distractions around me, I smiled. My lips synced in rhythm, “This is where I am,” in a slow breath.
As I bent to tee up the ball, I continued, “This is what I do,” in a slow breath.
With both eyes on the ball, I hummed, “This is what I enjoy.”
Watching the ball fly down the middle of the fairway has its rewards. Later, even topping the ball or pulling it left, which sometimes causes me to grinned my teeth, still brings a smile to my face because ‘this is what I enjoy.’
I am still practicing this mantra, and even though my golf game is no longer a practiced and steady game, I still am finding the need for this mantra. It may be age or maybe lack of practice, but my focus is most certainly lacking on the golf course and in daily life.
When I do focus and repeat the mantra, I hear no words, no music, only the birds. I am only there in that moment, surrounded by fresh air.
What could be more beautiful?
This is what I do.This is where I am.
This is what I enjoy.